NFL Picks Week 17: Favorites That Won't Cover the Spread

Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIIDecember 25, 2013

SEATTLE - DECEMBER 22:  Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks calls a play against the Arizona Cardinals on December 22, 2013 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

A few of the point spreads for the final Sunday in the NFL are absurd. Odds makers are begging you to take the underdog and the points in a few situations. You've probably seen scenarios like this in the past and found yourself in a trap. 

Some of the matchups would best be avoided, but three teams stand out as clear examples of favorites that won't cover the spread.

Here's a look at my predictions for every game on the schedule. Just below the table is a closer look at three teams that aren't safe bets to cover.

Week 17 Schedule and Predictions
Sunday, Dec. 29TimeTVLocationPrediction
Carolina at Atlanta1 p.m.FoxGeorgia DomeCarolina
Baltimore at Cincinnati1 p.m.CBSPaul Brown StadiumCincinnati
Houston at Tennessee1 p.m.CBSLP FieldTennessee
Jacksonville at Indianapolis1 p.m.CBSLucas Oil StadiumIndianapolis
NY Jets at Miami1 p.m.CBSSun Life StadiumMiami
Detroit at Minnesota1 p.m.FoxMall of America FieldMinnesota
Washington at N.Y. Giants1 p.m.FoxMetLife StadiumN.Y. Giants
Cleveland at Pittsburgh1 p.m.CBSHeinz FieldPittsburgh
Green Bay at Chicago4:25 p.m.FoxSoldier FieldGreen Bay
Denver at Oakland4:25 p.m.CBSO.co ColiseumDenver
Buffalo at New England4:25 p.m.CBSGillette StadiumNew England
Tampa Bay at New Orleans4:25 p.m.FoxMercedes-Benz SuperdomeNew Orleans
San Francisco at Arizona4:25 p.m.foxU of Phoenix StadiumSan Francisco
Kansas City at San Diego4:25 p.m.CBSQualcomm StadiumKansas City
St. Louis at Seattle4:25 p.m.FoxCenturyLink FieldSeattle
Philadelphia at Dallas8:30 p.m.FoxAT&T StadiumPhiladelphia
Brian Mazique

Let's start off in Seattle.

 

Seattle Seahawks -10

Before Week 16, the Seahawks hadn't lost a home game in almost two years. After the Arizona Cardinals handed them a 17-10 loss at CenturyLink Field, the aura of invincibility that surrounded the 'Hawks is gone.

The team has now lost two of its last three games and is headed into a pressure situation in the season finale. A loss would open the door for the San Francisco 49ers to steal the division crown away from them. 

The St. Louis Rams provide the opposition for the Seahawks, and the team's suddenly dominant run game will be an issue. The Rams haven't rushed for less than 100 yards in their last eight games.

ST. LOUIS, MO - DECEMBER 22: Stedman Bailey #12 of the St. Louis Rams scores a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Edward Jones Dome on December 22, 2013 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

During that span, the team is averaging 155.6 rushing yards per game. This type of ball control offense is what St. Louis will need to keep the Seattle crowd out of the game. I won't say the Rams will win outright—though it wouldn't shock me if they did—but if Seattle wins, it won't be by more than nine points.

 

Chicago Bears -7

ST. LOUIS, MO - NOVEMBER 24: Head Coach Marc Trestman of the Chicago Bears watches from the sidelines during a game against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on November 24, 2013 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Michael Thomas/Getty Images)
Michael Thomas/Getty Images

This one is easy. Not only will the Bears not cover the spread, they won't win this all-important rivalry matchup against the Green Bay Packers. We won't know whether Aaron Rodgers is playing until Thursday, per Chris Wesseling of NFL.com, but it won't matter.

The key matchup in this game is on the sidelines. The head coaching strategies and adjustments will determine the winner; and the Packers' Mike McCarthy gives Green Bay the edge.

Without his star and perennial MVP candidate, McCarthy has made the adjustments necessary to keep his team alive.

The Bears' Marc Trestman has made mind-boggling late-game moves, perplexing play calls and failed to make adjustments at halftime all year long. Most recently, the Bears looked unprepared in their embarrassing 54-11 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 16. 

Even Trestman's dynamic offense sputtered against a team whose defense ranks 30th in the NFL.

Green Bay gets it done on Sunday with or without Rodgers.

 

Indianapolis Colts -11.5

The Colts are 10-5; they have clinched the AFC South title and are hosting the 4-11 Jacksonville Jaguars; that's a blowout, right?

Not necessarily.

Indy has played to the level of their competition all season, and Jacksonville is above .500 in the second half of the year.

In Week 15, the Colts soundly beat the Houston Texans, and they hammered the Jags 37-3 in Week 4. Aside from those wins, the Colts' victories against non-playoff teams have been decided by 10 points or less.

Jacksonville is a different team now than it was in the first meeting. It is 4-3 since their bye in Week 9, and the team will be looking to finish the year strong. The Jags won't win this game, but they will keep the score close.

 

Point spreads per Covers.com

 

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